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Following a visit to the dentist I was told that I have a…

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following a visit to the...
following a visit to the dentist I was told that I have a gum infection and that the and the only way to cure it was to have my lower front teeth removed and false teeth as a replacement. are there any alternatives to this treament?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Dental
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Answered in 3 hours by:
3/23/2010
Dentist: Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist replied 8 years ago
Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6,048
Experience: Clinical instructor, NYU College of Dentistry; 37 years private practice experience in general dentistry, member Academy of General Dentistry, ADA, American Academy of Oral Medicine
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Dear ,

There are actually two parts to your question; I'll take the more important one first.

Whether or not there are any feasible alternatives to extracting the teeth depends on the nature and severity of the
dental disease affecting them. For example, almost any tooth can be retained, or "saved", with extensive therapy, but expectations for the longevity or durability of the result are insufficient to justify the effort. Severe tooth decay can often be addressed with the use of root canal treatment and crowns, but the teeth may be so fragile after treatment that they are at risk for fracture. On the other hand, severe gum disease may be arrested by intensive periodontal therapy, but so much of the supporting bone around the tooth roots may have been lost that the teeth are too loose to chew comfortably with them. So, although almost any dental disease can be treated, the question must be asked whether it should be treated. Unless the end result is comfortable, functional, esthetic, and long-lasting, extraction begins to make more sense.

The second part of the question involves the selection of an appropriate replacement for your teeth if it is decided that they must be extracted. There are three broad categories of prosthetic tooth replacement: a traditional fixed bridge, an implant-supported prosthesis, and a removable denture. Of the three, a removable denture is usually the least expensive and most expedient, but is subjectively least like chewing with one's own natural teeth. The use of a fixed bridge requires that the adjacent teeth are sufficiently strong to support it; implants require that there be sufficient bone in the area where tooth replacement is needed. Therefore, the selection of an appropriate type of tooth replacement requires that the condition of the mouth be carefully assessed; the patient's treatment preferences quite naturally also enter the decision-making process.

In sum, the kind of treatment decisions you face depend on the specific conditions that exist in your mouth, which must be assessed through careful visual and x-ray examination. Your dentist no doubt has his reasons for only providing you with one available course of treatment, and may honestly feel that there are no other practical alternatives. If you need the assurance of corroboration, you should seek a second opinion in person so that the relevant diagnostic record can be properly evaluated.

Hope this helps...
Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6,048
Experience: Clinical instructor, NYU College of Dentistry; 37 years private practice experience in general dentistry, member Academy of General Dentistry, ADA, American Academy of Oral Medicine
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